Monakais the term used to describe a kind of Japanese confection involving a soft, sweet filling encased in a crisp wafer shell made with water and mochiko [glutinous rice flour]. Traditionally, a component of the chanoyu [tea ceremony], these are usually filled with sweetened bean paste or a sugary, coarse-textured form of sesame butter made with kurogoma [black sesame seeds].
Japanese chocolatier Glico, however, has taken these oh-so-old-fashioned sweets into the 21st Century by loading up the wafer shells with chocolate – and not just chocolate, mind you, but aerated chocolate at that.
Glico’s Sweets Sand (“sweet sandwich”) snacks are delightful, super-sized monaka in bar form and are loaded to the very edges with a tasty checkerboard of aerated milk chocolate and flavored white chocolate. Currently, what I’ve seen being sold at Good Day and at the Makati Supermarket are the matchaand custard variants of the Sweets Sand. I’ve heard that Glico has an all-chocolate (and dark chocolate at that!) variant called the Caplico Mega Combo, but I have yet to see it in local stores.
To describe these snacks is to say that they are what you get when you turn a Kit Kat bar inside-out, super-size it, and load it to the gills with Aero chocolate. The aerated nature of the chocolate makes the flavors so much more intense as it melts in your mouth and there is the pleasurable feel of the honeycombed chocolate shattering along with the crunchy wafer exterior as you take a bite.
Considering that the chocolate is supposed to be milk chocolate, it is amazingly rich and more bitter and smoky than sweet. When it melts in your mouth, you won’t believe that you just ate a conventional, factory-made chocolate bar; the quality is very good. On the other hand, the matcha side of the equation is equally delicious: you get the strong, herbaceous flavor of old-school green tea gently tempered by the buttery, milky sweetness of the white chocolate. Eaten together, these are just plain wow.
I haven’t sampled the custard combo as yet, since I gave that bar to my sister. But, another time will come for that.
(Now, I just wish my favorite stores would keep these in stock! Oh, and did I mention that they’re a steal at just P 50.00 each? Not a bad deal; not bad at all…)